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February 12, 2009

MPI launches FutureWatch 2009 findings

The meeting industry will sharpen its focus and streamline its activities in light of the challenging global market, according to the initial executive summary of FutureWatch 2009, recently released by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in partnership with American Express.

The report comments that economic effect is not quite as severe as first anticipated. Meeting attendance per meeting is expected to increase by 3% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 9% in Canada, but with a 5% decline in the US.

“After three strong years, the global meeting and event industry is coming to grips with a major paradigm shift, and the FutureWatch report reveals how acute the expectations are for change,” said Bruce MacMillan, MPI president and chief executve. “Through initiatives like our Global Knowledge Plan we aim to prepare our 24,000 members for the challenging times ahead ensuring that we are well placed to adapt and thrive.”

Key preliminary FutureWatch findings:

Falling budgets
In 2009, meeting and event budgets are expected to fall by 6%. Last year’s report predicted that budgets would rise 22.6%. In fact, 17% of corporate meeting planners and 12% of association meeting planners predict some level of budget reductions in 2009. Nevertheless, government meeting planners generally expect fewer budget reductions.

Increasing innovation
Planners and suppliers agree that an increase in creativity and innovation will be a necessary and invaluable tool in 2009. They expect new standards and practices to emerge making the industry more efficient and effective. While client planners foresee a 9% drop in volume, independent meeting management professionals expect only a marginal 0.5% drop.

More remote working
Some 11% of meeting professionals expect an increase in the use of technology to access meetings and content remotely, to help lower overall costs.

Greater emphasis on ROI
Face-to-face meetings are still considered to have the highest return on investment (ROI) of all marketing tools. A greater significance is being placed on planners worldwide to provide the value of the proposed meeting or event. Some 74% of organisations holding meetings and events measure ROI with the primary measure being the satisfaction of the attendees.

FutureWatch 2009 is based on 2,740 responses from meetings and events industry professionals.

For details on MPI’s Global Knowledge Plan, visit: www.mpiweb.org/CMS/mpiweb/mpicontent.aspx?id=20414

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